Hosted solutions aren’t limited to security and productivity apps. As tools and storage options shift from the desktop to the cloud, we’re seeing more hosted solutions designed to meet the needs of developers. One recent entry into this category is Eldarion, which recently unveiled Gondor, a managed development and hosting solution designed for businesses developing and deploying sites built with the Django Web framework. Here are the implications for service providers, according to Eldarion President and CEO James Tauber (pictured).
Founded in 2009, Eldarion (which is not headquartered in Middle-earth) started out as a Web development company that uses the Django Web framework to build and deploy sites. In January 2011, the company announced that it was going to offer a managed solution for developers to build, deploy, and host sites using the Django framework. And then earlier this week, Eldarion announced that it had joined the Rackspace Cloud Tools Program to fill its hosting needs.
I caught up with James Tauber, CEO and President of Eldarion, this week to find out how in just two years his company has evolved from a Web design firm into a managed solution for Web developers.
In the BeginningFrom the start, Eldarion was focused on building a set of tools to be used internally. “The original vision,” says Tauber, “was to develop a platform and tools to enable us to get websites from idea to launch more quickly.” As Eldarion grew and took on more clients, the company needed a way to provision servers quickly and simplify deployment. So, as the company grew, its internal tools and infrastructure evolved. Even then, the company referred to its internal infrastructure and tools as Gondor.
Soon, Eldarion found that some of its clients had their own internal development teams. And these development teams wanted access to Eldarion’s infrastructure, so they could work more closely with Eldarion’s developers.
“We've pretty much always had a managed solution for our own sites and those of our clients,” says Tauber. “What changed in the last three months was the realization that there was a huge opportunity for our tools and infrastructure to be used by other Django developers, not just us and our clients.”
Working with RackspaceHosting, of course, is an important part of Gondor. As noted above, Eldarion announced this week that it has turned to Rackspace. So how did the company come to this decision?
“We had used Rackspace for our hosting from the beginning,” notes Tauber. “Initially in the form of VPSs on Slicehost. We still have 30 plus VPSs on Slicehost, but all our server provisioning is now on Rackspace Cloud Servers. We knew Rackspace would be able to deliver the service and support to build a PaaS (and SaaS) business on, so there really was never any doubt we'd stick with them.”
What’s Next?There is a lot of activity in the maturing field of hosted development environments. In just the past few days, we have seen a few announcements about development solutions, such as a managed implementation of Orion called OrionHub.
So I asked Tauber about his take on the growing field. “What's interesting,” he says, “is we're simultaneously seeing both the rise of hosted tools and services for developers and the need for developers to have devops skills. I think the former is leading to the latter because it's reducing the gap between the development environment and the production environment. And whether they are adopting the ‘lean’ label or not, startups are both wanting to get to launch with less upfront infrastructure investment and are wanting to deploy new code a lot more frequently once they've launched.”
While Eldarion is offering a set of tools to meet these needs, Tauber notes that his company will not lose sight of its Web development roots. “Gondor is a key part of our strategy moving forward, but it is just one leg of the stool. Our Web site development, especially our own sites, will continue to be a major part of our business.”
Nonetheless, the company does have more plans in the area of managed services. While Tauber isn’t ready to disclose details just yet, he did say “we have some announcements in the coming months around push-button SaaS offerings.”
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